NAME: Agnes Yunita Siedharta (35)
BORN IN: Surabaya, East-Java, Indonesia
CURRENTLY LIVING IN: Harelbeke, Belgium (West Flanders)
How well did you know Belgium before you moved here?
When we lived in Breda, we went to Antwerp very often so for a long time, Antwerp represented the whole of Belgium for us. If that’s a good or a bad thing depends on whom you ask!
What’s the biggest difference between your home country and Belgium?
Indonesia is a tropical, warm weather country throughout the year. Belgium, well, isn’t… Winter in Belgium is not my favorite season, to be honest. After 7 pm the streets are empty and the stores are closed in winter, whereas in Indonesia we can go shopping til 10 pm every single day, everywhere. But I guess there’s a good side to it too: it’s a lot less crowded and traffic is much safer in Belgium. I don’t have to be worried if my children want to play outside or ride their bikes on the streets. In Indonesia I wouldn’t even dare to let them go to the toilet alone in a shopping mall.
Is there anything that surprised you when moving here?
The Belgian dialects are so confusing! I still can’t understand half of what people are saying when they speak in their own local dialect. And there are so many… I also noticed that some Belgians are kinda stingy. I work in a cafe so I speak from experience. They don’t tip and mostly they split the bills, even if all they had was two coffees. I can’t imaging anything like that happening in Indonesia. We would be fighting to pay for each other!
It’s funny how Belgians always ask to split the bill. I can’t imaging anything like that happening in Indonesia. We would be fighting to pay for each other!
What do you like the most about Belgium?
I like the healthcare system, it’s a lot cheaper than in Indonesia. Another big bonus is the school system: the class hours make it possible for both parents to go to work.
The top 3 things to see or do when visiting Belgium in your opinion?
- Antwerp, for the beautiful train station and the various shopping opportunities
- Bruges, for its charm. It’s so typical Belgium.
- The Ardennes. It’s still Belgium, but greener 🙂
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Same-Same But Different in Kortrijk. They serve excellent Thai cuisine, but also tasty classic Belgian food. Highly recommended!
Your favorite Belgian food and drink?
Luikse wafels, oliebollen, chocolate … Belgium is a sweet tooth’s dream! I also enjoy the Flemish stoofvlees (beef stew) cooked in brown beer.
Your favorite Belgian expression?
“De bloemetjes buiten zetten.” The literal translation would be ‘putting the flowers outside’, but it means to go out and party. My Belgian friends often use that expression when they invite me for a night out.
Your favorite outdoor attraction?
De Gentse Feesten, without a doubt! I’ve been there once and it was so much fun! I also enjoy the Christmas Markets, they’re winter’s silver lining…
What advice would you give to anyone visiting (or moving to) Belgium?
Don’t worry about getting lost, it’s a small country 🙂 Oh, and if you decide to go out and explore any of the big cities by car, don’t. Figuring out the public transportation is much easier than finding a parking spot…
If you decide to explore any of the big cities by car, don’t. Figuring out the public transportation is much easier than finding a parking spot…
“I’d like to share my 15 minutes of fame with…”
My workplace Viva Sara Kaffée in Kortrijk. It’s a rather famous cafe in the city, knowns for its delicious coffee. I have been working in this family company for over 4 years now and it’s nice to have been here from day one and to see how it keeps developing. I’m proud and glad to be the part of it! Check the beautiful interior design on http://panobirds.com/vt/vivasara/